If you have tight muscles and want to get deeper into stretches or just want to feel looser, a foam roller is just the ticket. I recommend stretching every morning or before a workout and sometimes the best stretch can be with the foam roller. Hips, thighs and IT band (which start at your hipbone and bum and go down to the outside of your leg down to your knee) are generally the areas we concentrate on for a good stretch. Foam rollers helps work out and prevent knots in active muscles, increases blood flow to the muscles and allows the blood to flow faster to the muscles which can prevent injury. The foam roller allows you to apply pressure with your own body weight against the foam roller to work out knots and kinks you may have. Jillian Michaels former trainer for The Biggest Loser series likens foam rolling to an iron, because it “irons out the muscles by relaxing and smoothing them.” Using a foam roller may decrease healing time too because you are stretching out muscles that you may not be able to get to otherwise without the use of the roller. Flexibility is also increased because you roll out the muscle creating a thinner less dense tissue which will give you more flexibility. To use the foam roller (they come in various lengths and circumferences) roll back and forth over the muscle or tight area for 60 seconds. Avoid boney areas and take extra time and care to knots and trigger point areas. Foam rolling is a gift you give to yourself so take advantage of it by doing it 2-3 times a day and at least 3 times a week. Article By: Mona Ward, A.F.P.A. Certified and Oldfield Sports Club Director